NSCS aims to recognize freshman honor students

NSCS aims to recognize freshman honor students

Marc Maycroft

With intense workloads and rigorous schedules, the life of student can seem foreboding for for many college freshman and sophomores at Grand Valley State University; and without recognition for all of those sweat and tears, the lifestyle can wear a person out.

However, this year, things could change for many students as the first-ever chapter of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars makes it’s way to GVSU.

NSCS,an honors program that focuses and recognizes the accomplishments of first and second year students who excel in the classroom, has 280 chapters nation wide and offers unique and exclusive scholarship and leadership opportunities for its members.

Samantha Kraska, the president of the new chapter at GVSU, proposed the organization to GVSU administration. Her efforts, she said, were the direct cause of the organization’s acceptance on campus.

“I decided to help because a lot of the honors societies at Grand Valley recognize juniors or seniors while NSCS inducts freshmen and sophomores,” Kraska said. “It makes a lot of sense to me to induct high achieving students early to help them to continue excelling academically and provide them with leadership and service opportunities.”

The organization’s student adviser, Craig Benjamin, said Kraska came to him with this unique opportunity to contribute to the education of students.

“Samantha came to me, and I had her in a few courses and I had always liked her,” Benjamin said. “She asked me if I would be the student adviser for the NSCS. I thought about it and decided that it was a good organization to be involved with.”

Kraska said after having Benjamin as a professor in her freshman year, she decided to approach him to be the adviser because she knew he was the kind of professor who enjoyed getting involved. She also knew, she added, that his connections within the history and honors departments could come in handy, and his freshman honors course enrolls the same students the NSCS is trying to recruit.

The mission statement of the NSCS is to “recognize and elevate high-achievers,” and the organization achieves this goal with three distinct categories: scholarship, leadership and service.

“We are a service and leadership organization,” Benjamin said. “I want people to realize that first of all. NSCS puts students in a position to provide services and be involved with their community.”
To qualify for membership in the NSCS, you must meet a GPA requirement as well as be in the top 20 percent of your class and attend one of the campuses where the organization has a chapter. If a student meets the requirements, but does not attend a university with an NSCS chapter, they will be eligible to start one, as Kraska did. Membership, however, is not free. There is a one-time induction fee of $75 which goes toward funding both the events of the chapter and the scholarship fund that is exclusive to NSCS members.

“I’m not sure of the exact figure,” Benjamin said of the induction dues. “Something like eighty percent of the money goes right back into your own chapter.”

NSCS will showcase their first class of inductees on Sept. 24 on GVSU’s Allendale campus, but Kraska said that is only the first of many events the organization is planning this year.

“On March 14 we will host an event called March to College Day where we bring the students to Grand Valley and give them a tour to make college seem approachable and to help them to better understand what college life is like,” she said. “We also plan on hosting a 5K walk or run in the spring to benefit the Girls on the Run program at local schools. In the fall we plan on volunteering at the nearby Blandford Nature Center. Other than that we are waiting for the input of our members to plan events that are relevant to their interests as well.”

The opportunity to gain valuable experiences within the organization has lead to some influencial alumni. Several current and former governors, senators and university administration members including Mike Huckabee, Ashley Judd and Joe Scarborough.

Kraska said that she is very proud to be both member and president of the organization.

“I know how much I have already grown getting this organization started and I cannot wait to see how other students will take advantage of the opportunities presented to them,” she said. “Since we induct freshman and sophomores mostly, they have their entire college careers to get familiar with NSCS and then take a leadership role if they choose to. Next year I will graduate and I very much look forward to developing a core team so that the Grand Valley chapter of NSCS will grow and allow newer students to develop as leaders.”

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